Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill to help Flint residents pay for water they’ve been unable to use, for well over a year; poisoned water, unsuitable to drink and cook with. The bill allots for a substantial $30 million in credits, to help offset the city’s growing number of unpaid water bills.
— ABC12WJRT (@ABC12WJRT) February 26, 2016
According to the Detroit Free Press, after signing the bill, Snyder again apologized for his part in Michigan’s failure to intercede much earlier than it did. He (and the state) did not acknowledge the lead- in-the-water contamination issue until October, 2014. The question is this. Will it be enough to keep him in office?
“I’m kicking myself everyday. I wish I would have asked more questions. I wish I hadn’t accepted the answers.”
Two of Governor Snyder’s legal advisers conveyed statements, in regards to the condition of Flint’s drinking water, in 2014. This correspondence was not sent to Snyder, directly. However, officials in his office were aware of the information, which indicated that the city should be re-connected to the Detroit water system immediately.
Governor Snyder now claims he doesn’t remember speaking with Valerie Brader, one of the advisers who made indirect contact with him. So, he was, at that time, unaware of the severity of the issue.
The Flint Journal reports that new e-mails and other documents, dating back to 2011, have been released from Gov. Snyder’s office. Some of the documents were previously released to both The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.
Several of the e-mails, released today, were from Snyder’s former Chief of Staff, Dennis Muchmore. One in particular, sent in February, 2015, suggested that the governor use $2 million in grant money to initiate the switch back from the Flint River to the Detroit water system.
Apologizing to the citizens of Flint, Gov. Snyder indicated many people who expressed concerns about contaminated water were told that everything was okay. And, that not only he, but many people, are responsible for this crisis.
“Michigan residents have a right to get answers to any questions they still have. With the release of these emails, anyone will have access to this information. This crisis is the result of failures at all levels of government — city, state and federal. We need to look at what happened at all levels, but as the one ultimately responsible for what happens in state government, I am taking steps to help correct what happened there. I will continue to take steps that will help make things right and support Flint along its road to recovery.”
The credit, put forth to provide financial relief to residents, will be utilized to cover up to 65 percent of the water portion of bills received since the city’s water was switched back to the Flint River in April, 2014.
Flint is no stranger to financial hardship, which is why more and more residents are concerned with the possibility of declining property values and a reduction in overall tax revenue.
It’s gone as far as at least one resident making an appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, in effort to get a property-tax poverty exemption. One of the reasons for this request was documented as taking on the additional cost of purchasing water for daily consumption.
This crisis is expected to have lasting effects, in one way or another. With an increasing number of people dealing with a frightening lead-poisoning diagnosis, will Governor Rick Snyder’s apology to the residents of Flint ever be enough?
[Photo by Paul Sancya/AP Images]